Monday, December 21, 2015

New Gift of Caring Photos of U.S. Service Members Enjoying Girl Scout Cookies

Our Gift of Caring partner, Mission of Moms, has sent us more photos of U.S. Service Members enjoying Girl Scout Cookies sent from Southern Illinois.  These very special "thank yous" make our holiday season extra merry and bright!

Thank You from Afghanistan


Thank You from Iraq

Thank You from the USS Cape St. George 

The USS Cape St. George 



Sunday, December 20, 2015

Searching for a Last Minute Holiday Gift? How About Girl Scout Camp?!





Looking for something extra for your holiday gift list?  Consider the gift of Girl Scout Camp!  GSSI has opportunities for Summer 2016 available on our website now.


2016 Resident Camp

This summer, Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois is partnering with Touch of Nature (on Little Grassy Lake), Camp Ondessonk (in Ozark, IL) and DuBois Center (DuBois, IL) 

Girls attending a mini-session (four days/three nights) or week long session (seven days/six nights) at Touch of Nature will stay in cabins with electricity and air conditioning.  Girls will use flush toilets and covered shower houses during their time at camp.  Camp activities may include swimming in Little Grassy Lake, canoeing, hiking, archery, environmental education, rock climbing (older girls), high ropes (older girls) camp crafts, badge work, and, of course, Girl Scouts songs and camp fires!

Girls attending a week long session (seven days/six nights) at Camp Ondessonk will stay in rustic, three sided cabins.  Girls will use latrines in their unit but have access to flush toilets and shower houses nearby.  Camp activities may include swimming in Lake Saint Isaac, canoeing, archery, riflery, hanicrafts, hiking, horseback riding, challenge courses, overnight campout under the stars, Girl Scout songs and camp fires, and an all-camp marathon to end the week!

Sessions at DuBois Center are being planned with their staff now - more information coming soon! 



2016 Day Camp 

GSSI holds several Day Camps each summer at locations throughout our council.  Thanks to the hard work and dedication of great volunteers, our Day Camp program continues to grow and provide girls with a premier outdoor experience.  2016 hosts so far: 


Belleville 
Carlyle
Charleston
Collinsville 
Columbia 
Edwardsville 
Effingham Older Girl Camp
Effingham Younger Girl Camp 
ESTL/Cahokia 
Granite City
Bond County
Highland
Jefferson County
Massac County
Mini STEM Day Camp 
O’Fallon 
Staunton 
STEM Day Camp 
UPAC
Waterloo



Friday, December 18, 2015

Jessica Drewer From Highland Earns the Girl Scout Gold Award



Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) is pleased to announce that Jessica Drewer from Highland has received the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive.

For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, called Music, Reading, Healthy Eating, Jessica worked with KinderCottage in East St. Louis. Having already volunteered at the center with her church youth group, Jessica knew the needs of the center. She provided them with a bookshelf and books for a library. Jessica also created a music program using homemade instruments out of recyclable materials and a coloring book showing the instruments and their names. She also provided backpacks and school supplies for each child entering kindergarten. In addition, Jessica also worked to provide healthy snacks for the children.

“Sometimes we must be selfless and reach out to those in need, ” said Jessica. 

Jessica is the daughter of Carole Drewer. She is a 2015 graduate of Highland High School and was a Girl Scout for 12 years.

The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, recognizes a Girl Scout's commitment to excellence as she develops skills and values to meet present and future challenges in her life. To earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, a Girl Scout Senior or Girl Scout Ambassador must design and carry out a project that fulfills a need within a girl’s community, creates change, and is sustainable. The project must be completed with a suggested minimum of 80 hours of work. Only about 6 percent of eligible girls earn the prestigious Gold Award.

Today, Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. is the largest voluntary organization for girls in the world. Its sole focus is to meet the needs of all girls (ages 5-17) from diverse racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Today’s Girl Scouts not only enjoy camping and crafts, but they also explore math and science and learn about diversity, good citizenship, leadership and teamwork. Girl Scouting is the place where girls experience the fun, friendship and power of girls together.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Robotics Success Symbol of Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois' Dedication to STEM



GSSI Robotics teams had great success during recent FIRST LEGO League (FLL) regional qualifying tournaments in November and December, indicative of GSSI's commitment to bringing  girls relevant, exciting opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

FLL is a robotics program for 9 to 14 year olds which is designed to get children excited about science and technology, as well as teach them valuable life skills. Along with programming robots, teams are also evaluated on an elaborate research project, as well as how well they demonstrate FLL Core Values, which include teamwork, collective learning, active participation and gracious professionalism. After practicing and preparing for months, teams meet at regional qualifying tournaments to be graded on the three elements, with the top teams advancing to state competition.

"Our FLL teams have had an amazing year," said STEM Program Manager Mary Buchanan.  "We had four teams win awards this year and have expanded into two new areas in the southern part of our jurisdiction - Anna and Carbondale.  We would love to continue expanding the robotics program throughout the council because girls love the exciting, team-oriented STEM challenges it offers."

Buchanan also noted that GSSI's Robotics Program has gotten more men involved with Girl Scouts.  "More than half of our robotics teams - including our FIRST TECH Challenge team for older girls -has had a father coaching," she said. "Seeing more dads participating and helping build girls' confidence and skills in STEM is great!"

Career opportunities related to STEM fields are expected to continue to grow and studies show they pay 33% more than non-STEM jobs. However, a recent survey by the Girl Scouts Research Institute found that while 74% of high school girls are interested in STEM, less than a quarter of jobs in that field are filled by women.  Girl Scouts offers numerous program opportunities to encourage more girls to follow their interests to build for a successful future.

"We're so grateful for all of the parents, volunteers and supporters who invest in our Robotics Program," said Buchanan.  "Studies show that girls actually do have a high interest in STEM activities, despite the stereotype.  Providing them with role models, encouragement and interesting challenges helps develop this interest and opens their minds to future opportunities."


Girl Scout teams at the FLL regional qualifier on Dec. 5 at Carriel Jr. High in O'Fallon



2015 GSSI  FIRST LEGO League Summary: 

Teams participating in FLL Tournaments: 

Coding Catricorns and Coach Scott Gilbert, Carbondale
Fire Breathing Hexicorns and Coach Julie Herr, Belleville*
Flower STEMs and Coach Megan Terrell, O'Fallon*
GIR! and Coach Jason Dothager, Staunton*
Knights of the Round LEGO and Coach Winnie Kenney, O'Fallon*
Lightning Storm and Coach Sarah Klosterman, Belleville*
Purple Robot Penguins and Coach Larry Buchanan, O'Fallon*
Robots of the Round Table and Coach Celeste Borders, Anna
Super Weird Awesome Tinkerbots and Coach Krysti Connelly, Troy*
Undercover Upcyclers and Coach Jill Thomas, Albers

Three additional teams hosted by GSSI participated in the FLL program, but elected not to compete.

*GSSI teams in the Metro East were sponsored by The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company.


Award winning teams: 


Purple Robot Penguins had the top score in the Robot Game and took home
the Champion's Award for overall top team performance. 

At the FLL regional qualifier on Dec. 5 at Carriel Jr. High in O'Fallon, two GSSI teams took home awards.  Purple Robot Penguins won the Champion's Award for being the overall top performing team at the tournament.  They also won the Performance Award for having the top table score during the robot game.   The team qualified to compete in the Illinois FLL State Tournament on Jan. 23 at University of Illinois. 

Knights of the Round LEGO during competition.  The young team won the Rookie Award. 
At the same tournament, Knights of the Round LEGO won the Rookie Award, for being the top performing first year team.

SWAT displaying their award-winning research project. 
Also on Dec. 5, Super Weird Awesome Tinkerbots (SWAT) won the Project Award at the FLL regional qualifier at Cassens Elementary School in Edwardsville, for their exceptional research project.

GIR! presenting during judging rounds of the FLL tournament.
The team won the Core Values Award.

On Nov. 23, GIR! won the Core Values Award during the FLL regional qualifier at Carriel Jr. High in O'Fallon.  The Core Values Award honors teams that exemplify the cornerstones of the FLL program, such as teamwork, friendly competition, collective learning and gracious professionalism.



About Monsanto Fund
The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the communities where farmers and Monsanto Company employees live and work. Visit the Monsanto Fund at www.monsantofund.org.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

GSSI Service Center December & January Schedule





Please be advised of the holiday schedule for GSSI Service Centers & Council Shops in Glen Carbon & Mt. Vernon.

Service Centers and Council Shops will be closed on Dec. 17 for an all-staff meeting and from Dec. 23-Jan. 3 for holiday break.   They will also be closed on Jan. 18 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. 

GSSI Council Shops will be open for extended hours on Dec. 15 until 7 p.m. and 9 a.m.-Noon on January 9, 2016.






Thursday, December 10, 2015

Danielle Patton from Mt. Vernon Earns the Girl Scout Gold Award





Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) is pleased to announce that Danielle Patton from Mt. Vernon has received the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive. 

For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, called A Fresh Start From My Heart, Danielle worked with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) to brighten the lives of the children being served by the organization. Danielle created age appropriate Birthday Boxes which contained the necessary items for a child’s birthday party. She also created Blessing Bags for the children that were filled with such things as personal hygiene products, toys, books and socks. The final step of Danielle’s project consisted of her making Life Books for the children. These notebooks contained autographed pictures of local celebrities that provided encouragement and inspiration to the children who received them.

Danielle gained valuable life skills from completing her Girl Scout Gold Award project. “I learned that I am very fortunate to have such unconditional love and support from my family and friends,” said Danielle. “I learned to recognize a problem, take control, be a leader and take action to help make a difference,” she added.

Danielle is the daughter of Greg and Lesa Patton. She is currently a junior at Mt. Vernon Township High School. Danielle has been a Girl Scout for 12 years. 


The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, recognizes a Girl Scout's commitment to excellence as she develops skills and values to meet present and future challenges in her life. To earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, a Girl Scout Senior or Girl Scout Ambassador must design and carry out a project that fulfills a need within a girl’s community, creates change, and is sustainable. The project must be completed with a suggested minimum of 80 hours of work. Only about 6 percent of eligible girls earn the prestigious Gold Award.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Girl Scout Cookie Program Coming to Southern Illinois on January 9




Much more than a way to raise money, the Girl Scout Cookie Program is a hands-on leadership and entrepreneurial program unlike any other in the world.  Girls gain a wealth of essential skills, not from a book, but from real life experiences that build a strong foundation for success. When a Girl Scout sells you a package of cookies, she’s doing much more. She’s creating a plan, interacting with customers and working as part of a team. She’s also building a lifetime of skills and confidence linked to leadership and financial literacy. Countless successful businesswomen and community leaders say they got their start selling Girl Scout Cookies.



2016 GSSI Girl Scout Cookie Program Schedule

Cookie Rallies: January 8
Order Taking: January 9-30
Council Wide Booth Sales: January 9-10, February 26-28, March 4-6 


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Bailee Warsing from Granite City Has Earned the Girl Scout Gold Award


Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) is pleased to announce that Bailee Warsing from Granite City has received the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive. 

For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, called Raptor Residence, Bailee built a large residential cage for birds at Tree House Wildlife Center.  In addition to working with volunteers and donors to raise $3,000 to build the cage, Bailee also tackled the issue of dangers of human expansion on birds and particularly an osprey who had been hit by a car in Granite City.  As part of her project, she spoke to various groups about Tree House Wildlife Center and its efforts to rehabilitate injured birds.  She spoke to students at Ganite City High, younger Girl Scouts and community members.       

 “I learned that I really like leading events and coordinating of volunteers,” Bailee said.  I really liked spreading knowledge about topics I feel strongly about like wildlife conservation. I also learned many leadership skills including how to manage a team and to not procrastinate.”

Bailee is currently a senior at Granite City High School.

The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, recognizes a Girl Scout's commitment to excellence as she develops skills and values to meet present and future challenges in her life.  To earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, a Girl Scout Senior or Girl Scout Ambassador must design and carry out a project that fulfills a need within a girl’s community, creates change, and is sustainable.   The project must be completed with a suggested minimum of 80 hours of work.  Only about 6 percent of eligible girls earn the prestigious Gold Award.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

GSSI Council Shop Update: December 2015




New Items
Check out our new merchandise! GSSI has a multitude of new merchandise for girls and adult volunteers.  Stop by a retail shop soon or browse our virtual catalog.

GSSI Council Shop Hours
GSSI Council Shops are open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m, Monday through Thursday.

Extra Shop Hours
We will be open until 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 15, 2015 and on 9 a.m.-Noon on the following Saturdays: December 5, 2015 & January 9, 2016

Online Shop
You can always shop for your Girl Scout merchandise 24/7 online!

Mobile Shops
Several areas are running Mobile Shops at their events.  You can too!!! If interested in a running a Mobile Shop at your local service unit or regional event, please contact Beth Ross, Business Services Manager at 618.692.0692, ext. 1129 or e-mail: bross@gsofsi.org

GSSI Council Shop Contact Information:
Corporate Service Center: Stacey Port: 618-692-0692, ext. 1101   e-mail: sport@gsofsi.org
Regional Service Center: Linda Quinn: 618.242.5079, ext. 2115   e-mail: lquinn@gsofsi.org